Paul Bonifas

Paul Bonifas

Director of Operations

9H Research Foundation

Laramie, WY USA

There’s a different path for everybody, and the path can zig and zag.


By Roadtrip Nation

Paul Bonifas


My road in life took a while to figure out.
I was born in France and moved with my family to south Texas and then to Casper, Wyoming, always following my father’s job in uranium mining.
After high school, I knew I wanted to go to college, but I had no idea what I wanted to study—I was good at math and science, so I was encouraged to go into engineering.
I started with petroleum engineering, but switched to chemical engineering because it sounded interesting—I kept taking petroleum engineering electives because those jobs started at a higher salary.
After graduating, I took a job as a reservoir petroleum engineer in Dallas, Texas.
The oil industry crashed and I was laid off, but I was actually excited because it gave me an opportunity to explore the world—I booked a ticket to Thailand and spent the next few months backpacking.
I took another job as an engineer in North Dakota before deciding to go back to school—I received a grant that allowed me to earn both my MBA and a master’s degree in petroleum engineering.
After graduate school, I explored some entrepreneurial and consulting opportunities—one of those opportunities led me back to Wyoming as a petroleum engineering consultant.
I was again laid off when oil crashed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but I was quickly recruited to the 9H Research Foundation, where I now help drive innovation in clean energy and engineering.
Keep following my journey


Director of Operations

I help drive innovation in clean energy and engineering while supporting Wyoming's economy.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Accomplishing Goals

Day to Day

9H Research Foundation is focused on identifying new and more efficient ways of generating, storing, and delivering clean, renewable, zero-emission energy. We're building a PV solar facility and hands-on research facility to facilitate clean energy research. Our goal is to help the University of Wyoming become the premier research center for clean energy. As director of operations, my day-to-day job involves project management, permitting, and networking to ensure the project becomes a reality.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

There is no one-size fits all answer for getting into this industry. In general, I believe a difficult engineering degree will give you the tools needed to critically think and problem solve. It seems that career success is a combination of hard work, perseverance, and being well-liked by the people you meet. I would try to avoid student debt. Get scholarships, join the military, apply for grants, etc.


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"You'll never find another job if you leave to go backpacking around the world."

Interviewed By

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